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Office Hours

Inside the Great Northern Building restoration (hats off to McKinstry)

Lost in the hubbub about Apple and Trader Joe's coming to town is the bigger news that the McKinstry company, a high-end facilities management and design-build firm, bought and is renovating the historic Great Northern Building, on the east edge of downtown Spokane.

In the past few days we got a chance to get a view of what's happening inside and outside the building. The building is on the national historic register; it was originally the repair depot for the first electric railway system that operated between downtown and Liberty Lake and points east.

This cell-phone photo shows “car barn 2” inside the Great Northern Building, which sits between the Habitat building on Trent and the Spokane River. The view is toward the south and toward the Spokane River.

The original wood ceilings and brick walls have been cleaned up and are used as key features in the building plan.

The McKinstry offices will be on the left side of the barn. Some other spaces will be available to lease to commercial tenants.

A permit pulled by McKinstry estimates the cost of restoring the building will approach $10 million.


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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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